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Thing #8

Posted: Saturday, July 8, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"Last Hand"

Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Kieron Dwyer, Laura Villari(c)
Publisher: Marvel

Dan Slott's last issue of The Thing shows off all the writer's strengths and why this book was so fun to read. Slott in the last of the Batman: Animated Series tie-ins often wrote with Ty Templeton two whole short stories that comprised each issue of the book. This issue of Thing once again gives Slott opportunity to display his versatility with the vignette.

In the first short, it's The Thing versus the Bi-Beast, that's right, the Bi-Beast. Things don't look too bright for Ben Grimm against this curiously named creature. That is until Squirrel Girl intervenes. You know, if Slott were writing it, I think I could enjoy a whole Squirrel Girl series. Slott makes this hero clever, funny and unconventional.

Next, Slott reveals Ben Grimm's smarts beneath his rocky hide in a story featuring the Impossible Man. Slott furthermore makes the story work through the recognition of the long history Impy has had with Ben.

The story seques to one of Slott's clean-ups. It was John Byrne who split Alicia and Ben Grimm to better launch the former into his own series. Since then various authors have tried to pair each of the characters up with another, and they've failed miserably. Why? Because you can't screw with Stan Lee and Kirby. That's why. Slott finds a keen plausible way to rid Alicia of Arlo and set up the long-awaited reconciliation of Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters. The final story brings the Ben's Jewish background full-circle.

Slott uses a giant poker game as his framing sequence. The entirety of the heroic Marvel universe attends, jokes and interacts with each other. In the time of Civil War where the heroes are inexplicably fighting each other, hunting each other down and just being sphincters toward each other, The Thing becomes even more refreshing. Bonus points for the Tigra cameo.

Kieron Dwyer and Laura Villari provide the fun, toony artwork. Despite the massive cast, every one of them gets a little visual characterization. All the body language is different, and this aids in conveying the idea that the game is really happening somewhere in the Marvel Universe. Former Thing artist Andrea DiVito's final hurrah comes in the form of a spirited cover, and I hope to see his work on something soon.

Thanks to Dan Slott and the rest for eight enjoyable issues of The Thing.



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